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Dec 10, 2009 11:58 PM

OC special evening

My parents are flying out from east coast and will meet my girlfriend for first time, Need special occasion restaurant near her work in costa mesa. The food and atmosphere both matter. They will be on east coast time so we will eat early like 6pm. Don't want the place to be dead that early. Here are places I am choosing between:

Marche Moderne
Pinot Provence
Golden Truffle


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    1. Less than 15 miles from Costa Mesa you'll find Studio, Craig Strong's new place in Laguna Beach. According to our friend Sherry at the LA Times ( ), it offers both great food and a great location, although sunset dining is not an option at this point in the year. I'm in the process of comparing Studio with Stonehill Tavern and Marché Moderne but won't have a chance to visit there until later this month, so I can't speak from personal experience. I will say that I've been a fan of Craig Strong for a long time -- at the Ritz, later Langham, in Pasadena, where he earned a Michelin star, he created especially delicious tasting menus (that succinct course once with several ways to eat/drink/worship a tomato -- how can this guy not be Italian?) -- and that, on the other hand, Stonehill Tavern has been my favorite restaurant in an OC since it opened. Further, if I may, I wouldn't want my kids to take me to a mall after I just flew six hours to see them, no matter how good the restaurant or how courteous the mall rats, the Nordstrom employees as you walk through, etc. I do want to be clear: Marché Moderne is much, much better than South Coast Plaza food court. ;-


      Stonehill Tavern
      St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, CA 92629

      30801 Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA

      5 Replies
      1. re: Harry Nile

        While Studio and Stonehill are good choices, I have to take exception with your mall rat statement-- you can get valet parking in the structure and walk right into MM without having to deal with mall rats... and once you're inside MM, it's not like a mall at all (fortunately).

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          Ubergeek, I didn't know that valet parking could help patrons avoid the mall atmosphere, and I see at the entry on Marché Moderne that it's "available on [the] first level Parking structure." The restaurant is on the third level, so how do you "walk right into MM" without going through the mall? Is there an elevator that comes out next to MM?

          Marché Moderne
          3333 Bristol Street, #3001, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

          1. re: Harry Nile

            The parking structure elevator is directly across the hall from the entrance to MM. Valet-park the car, get in the elevator, walk across the hall. You're not exactly marching to the food court.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              Thanks, that's worth trying. Last time we parked outside Nordstrom, walked through the store to an escalator, climbed through shopping-mall crowds to the third floor, and then walked again to a sterile hallway outside Marché Moderne. Truly suburban ingress for what aspires to be a downtown meal. BTW, the whole thing is probably on YouTube by now, so I'll admit that a cute teenage girl sold me six pair of white socks on my way out.

              1. re: Harry Nile

                The hall is still sterile, but at least you aren't walking through Nordstrom.